This problem is related to Mac OS X's default lookup behaviour that tries to ask a DNS first. The sideeffect beeing that localhost can't be resolved without a network, Mail hanging when startet offline, the computer pausing for 10 minutes when startet offline, etc.
To get rid of this, you need to do two steps:
- First configure the lookup order in Netinfo. See "man lookupd" for this. The example is good, so take most of it into your Netinfo config. Make a global lookup order that asks the Netinfo-Agent first, and the NILagent afterwards. Add a DNS lookup order that uses NIagent, cacheagent, DNSagent and NILagent in this order.
- Add an entry for localhost and broadcasthost to the netinfo database.